Geoff Smith (
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 17:18:57 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 16 Jul 1998, Nick Bostrom wrote:

> I'm too tired right now to come up with any proposals for how to
> answer the following questions. Anybody got any rethorical ideas?
> Why do transhumanists want to live longer?
> (Henri Kluytmans:)
> -Because I like living.
> -Because I want to do, experience, learn enormously more than I can do
> in a natural lifespan.

Because after you choose to die, you can't change your mind; inversely, a choice to live is always reversible. Why limit your options?

> Isn't transhumanism tampering with nature?
> (HK:)
> -Yes, but don't we humans do that all the time.
> -Yes, but isn't that just what distinguishes us from animals.

No, it is entirely natural for Homo sapiens to use tools to maximize their lifespans. The first example would probably be the spear. We are not alone: chimpanzees use long twigs to fish termites out of their nests, surely this extends their lifespan.(other examples...?)

> Won't transhuman technologies make us inhuman?
> (HK:)
> -They will probably evolve us into not-humans (i.e. post-humans).

Maybe, but only in the same sense as when an ape picked up a tool and he was no longer a lower primate. The ape practiced auto-evolution, why can't we?

Maybe this ape was truly the first cyborg? (pardon my definition-stretching...)

> Are transhumanist technologies environmentally sound?

A fusion-powered nano-factory will be virtually pollution free. Nano-machines could also gobble up pollution, and turn recycling into an efficient process.(right now, you might as well throw everything away!)

> Might transhuman technologies be dangerous?

Only in the hands of dangerous people.

> _____________________________________________________
> Nick Bostrom
> Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
> London School of Economics